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  • What Damage To Property Can Bees Do?

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #7330  by Japey Edge
 23 May 2020, 16:00
I would like to know if anyone has seen the damage (if any) that a feral colony of bees living in a building can do.

I was approached by someone asking for a cut-out of a two year old colony. Going in through a vent/hole in brickwork. They are definitely honey bees.

When I mentioned it would cost it put them off. So really what I am looking for is would it be cheaper to have the colony removed, or leave them and suffer the attracted pests, rodents etc.?
 #7332  by AndrewLD
 23 May 2020, 16:22
How long is a bit of string?
If you want to see the size of a nest in a building cavity - just Google it - they can get big if the space inside allows it.
Plenty of photographs show honey dripping everywhere but that is usually as a result of opening up a space to remove the colony.
If you get a colony in a chimney with a fireplace below - that can be a real problem if you want to light the fire or if the bees start to enter the house down the chimney. I think the bigger problem is when the bees decide to create an entrance into the house and then you find a room full of bees trying to get out.
Then there's noise - my daughter has had a colony of bumble bees in the roof space just over her bed for years and it did get noisy - then the tits found the nest and now she has tits nesting over her head and no bees! We aren't worried but if it was a honeybee colony I think I'd have a go at trapping them into a NUC and encouraging a move.
One thing is for sure - it won't get better. Even if the colony dies off and wax moth cleans up, another will move in......
 #7333  by Patrick
 23 May 2020, 16:32
I think putting a fixed cost on a feral colony in a structure is problematic.

Exiting from a remote part of a roof maybe nothing, emerging regularly internally in Grade I listed into a household with someone allergic to bee stings maybe different.

Personally, if I agreed to undertake any job with a reasonable cost attached and the householder demurred, I would smile sweetly and walk away and just leave them to it. I strongly disagree with the oft repeated suggestion that hobby beekeepers are in any way obliged to engage in swarm collection on private property.

There will never be a world shortage of people who think you should do or give them something for free. Whether you choose to do so or not is entirely at your discretion, not theirs.
 #7335  by Japey Edge
 23 May 2020, 17:19
Yeah I thought this would be quite an open question with variable answers.

That's exactly what I have done Patrick. I highlighted that honey could attract pests and then didn't push it when they didn't want to proceed.

I'll have a look online. I'm curious as to how this type of situation could progress - ie bees trapped out, abandoned honey combs dripping, attracting pests which nest and cause other damage. Wondering how bad it can get with the pests we have in the UK.
 #7342  by AdamD
 23 May 2020, 20:08
I guess that bees might chew some insulation - as they will to Kingsapan if the foam edges are not sealed - but apart from that, I am not aware of any direct damage if they are left alone. It will be the beekeeper that's the trouble!